Chapter 9

A while ago I looked back on my life and found there was a rhythm. Significant life changes came on an astonishingly regular cycle.

Seven years. Plus or minus. Give or take. Comme ci, comme ça.

And it’s not just me. There’s the seven-year itch, the Seven Years War, seven years of bad luck (had that one a couple of times), Seven Years in Tibet (that wasn’t me), seven years of plenty, seven years of famine (had ‘em both), seven years of tribulation… Plenty of references to seven years of this, that, or the other thing.

They say your body replaces all its cells within seven years, so quite literally, I’m not the same man I was seven years ago.

Anyway, I was mildly amazed so see the pattern, and disappointed that I could recognize it only in retrospect. I resolved at the time to pay better attention. And promptly forgot about it.

These past few months, I’ve felt something afoot. Changes in the wind. Nothing I could put a finger on, but things weren’t the same any more, yet they also hadn’t yet congealed into something else. It was the seven years.

I decided that I’d watch carefully as things unfold, so that I could experience, for the first time, the actual changes of the seven years. Recovery has taught me that it wasn’t something within my control to guide or to change. But what I can do is be there, in the moment, and squeeze out the experience for all its worth.

Old habits die hard, of course. I’ve had periods of denial, ignorance, resistance, pining for what’s been good in these past seven years. My attention has lapsed, and on occasion I’ve been completely confused and undone.

Then I remember. Oh, yeah. It’s the seven years change.

I wonder what it will bring? I wonder what the direction will be? I wonder what will need to be left behind so that I’m ready to accept what will become?

Over these past several months, an internal discomfort has been rising, like the beginnings of a headache that just won’t quite get its act together.

I started acting on it this past weekend, and suddenly, I feel better. Somehow, finding the direction, yielding to it, and then beginning pursuit of it, well, it seems to be working.

57/7=8.14 and change.

In the past, changes have been regular, but not quite so regular you could set your watch to it. Life’s like that. Borders are fuzzy. Edges are smeared. One thing flows into another.

But still, there have been eight “chapters” before.

So, this must be Chapter Nine.

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